Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin is back… I think!
Doug Martin returned to practice for the first time since injuring his hamstring in Week 2. Head coach Dirk Koetter had Martin listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice session. And of course, he wouldn’t say a word in regards to Martin’s availability against the Chicago this week.
NFL head coaches tend not to do that until they absolutely have to. But from the practice footage shown on NFL Network, Buccaneers fans should be encouraged. The star running back is supposed to take some of the load off 2015 1st-round pick Jameis Winston.
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The Bucs’ backfield has had more than it’s fair share of njuries this season. Martin has missed six games, and backup Charles Sims is on injured reserve now. Jacquizz Rodgers started three games and rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games.
But his foot has kept him out since Week 8 and a knee injury just ended Antone Smith’s season. Right now, Peyton Barber is the guy to get the bulk of the workload unless Martin returns. So you can see how much it would mean to get him back.
If Martin does play, the Buccaneers could ease him back into the rotation after seven weeks off. So we can’t assume he’ll have a full workload this week either way. But it is still good news that he’s out there practicing and Winston will get the help he needs.
Receiver Mike Evans is also practicing these days while he remains in concussion protocol. All indications are that the team’s No. 1 receiver is on a path to playing Sunday. With the Buccaneers getting healthy, I like their chances against the Bears and beyond.